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First Leinster Starts For Marsh And Leavy

First Leinster Starts For Marsh And Leavy

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named his team to face Edinburgh in the GUINNESS PRO12 at Meggetland on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm).

40 players were given the chance to stake a claim over the last two weekends in pre-season friendlies against Ulster and Moseley and on the back of those two games, Leo Cullen has selected eleven internationals in his matchday squad (including rugby league international Ben Te’o), while also selecting three potential debutants on the bench.

The new Leinster boss is also able to call upon the services of four players released from the Ireland Rugby World Cup training squad earlier this week.

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The front row consists of loosehead prop Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon at hooker and Jamie Hagan at tighthead, with Tom Denton and Mike McCarthy locking down behind to complete the tight five.

Kevin McLaughlin captains the side from blindside flanker for his 115th appearance in blue after an injury-disrupted season last year where he only played five times. His last competitive appearance was against Connacht in December.

Dan Leavy makes his first start for the province from openside. The UCD clubman made three appearances last season off the bench while still in the Leinster Academy. Jack Conan completes the pack from number 8.

Luke McGrath and Cathal Marsh get another opportunity to shine having started both pre-season games at half-back. Marsh will also be making his first start for Leinster. Last year’s joint top try scorer, Darragh Fanning, starts on the left wing, with Fergus McFadden on the right, while Noel Reid and Te’o start in the centre.

On the replacements bench, one of Royce Burke Flynn, Ross Byrne or Garry Ringrose will become Leinster player number 1235 if they make an appearance off the bench as all three are in line to win their first cap in Scotland.

Burke Flynn was signed from Clontarf during pre-season having previously been a part of the Leinster Academy, while Byrne and Ringrose are both still members of the Leinster Academy. The opening round game will be broadcast live on TG4.

LEINSTER (v Edinburgh): Isa Nacewa; Fergus McFadden, Ben Te’o, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Cathal Marsh, Luke McGrath; Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon, Jamie Hagan, Tom Denton, Mike McCarthy, Kevin McLaughlin (capt), Dan Leavy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Royce Burke-Flynn, Ross Molony, Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss, Ross Byrne, Garry Ringrose.